This game was billed as a pitching duel, a battle of young right-handers. Luis Severino and Marcus Stroman lived up to the hype. Both pitched well and kept the game close. For most of the afternoon, however, the Yankees had the advantage. A few mistakes in the late innings cost them the game, though, and forced a series split. While this isn’t the worst outcome possible, it still stings. The Bombers dropped the finale to the Blue Jays by a score of 3 - 2.
The Yankees struck first in the fourth inning, courtesy of Aaron Judge. He used his legs to manufacture a run. After working a 3 - 2 count against Stroman, Judge lined a one-out single to right field. That brought Matt Holliday to the plate. On a 1-2 count, Judge broke for second. Luke Maile overthrew the ball into center field, allowing the Yankees right fielder to advance to third. The throw actually hit him on the spikes. Holliday then dunked in a RBI double to center field, giving the Yankees a 1 - 0 lead.
Speed also factored into the Yankees’ second run of the game. Brett Gardner tapped a leadoff single in the sixth inning. He quickly advanced to third on a Gary Sanchez double and Judge fly ball. Holliday followed with what appeared to be a double-play groundball. The Jays forced Sanchez out at second, but Holliday managed to beat out the return throw, allowing Gardner to score. Yesterday the Yankees scored via the home run ball. This afternoon was all about the running game.
The Jays, on the other hand, opted for the long ball. The only damage Severino allowed came in the bottom of the sixth. After promptly retiring Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson, he gave up a single to Kendrys Morales. That brought the red hot Justin Smoak to the plate. Severino tried to throw a slider for a first pitch strike, but it didn’t break. The ball hung right in the middle of the strike zone.
Smoak crushed the pitch, sending it 105 mph to deep center field. It was a second deck shot, and made it a 2 - 2 game.
Severino escaped the inning and then worked out of trouble in the seventh. All things considered, he worked a fine start. He allowed two runs over seven innings, while striking out seven. He made one mistake and it cost him. Sometimes that happens. He still pitched a strong game and continued his impressive season.
Unfortunately the bullpen couldn’t build upon Severino’s start. Tyler Clippard came on in the eighth inning and instantly allowed a home run to Donaldson. Clippard left a four-seam fastball right at the top of the zone and the Blue Jays third basemen sent it out of the park.
I can’t blame Clippard too much for that. Not many batters can send that pitch a long way. Donaldson’s one of them, however, and he struck the decisive blow. That gave the Blue Jays a 3 - 2 lead, one they wouldn’t surrender, either. Roberto Osuna worked a clean ninth inning to close out the game. Yuck. This game felt eminently winnable and then unraveled in the late innings. That’s the worst.
The Yankees are off tomorrow, but the Red Sox come to the Bronx on Tuesday. It will be Drew Pomeranz against Masahiro Tanaka. Hopefully Tanaka can toss another impressive performance against Boston. I think we could all use one of those.